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In the auto industry, that "short-term" is measured in quality, not reliability. Reliability is a longer-term perspective like you described. Most people confuse a quality rating for a model year, with some subjective review of "material quality". So if you're looking at automotive awards, etc.. and they talk about the first year quality, its a way of saying there were few repairs needed in the short-term. It's also a way of indicating how well a car is built. If it's built well, you shouldn't have to bring it back for repairs often or at all.
Not disagreeing with you but what matters most to me is the reliability for the 8 years or so after the warranty has expired. That's why I don't pay that much attention to "initial quality" ratings.
 

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Are there problems with the 8 speed in the regular RAV4?
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I have about 4,000 miles on a 2019 XLE with absolutely no issues.

I drive mostly in the city and shift 3 to 4 to 5 in S and get about 22 mpg. The 8 speed is great.

I’ve had owned almost 20 Toyotas with the vast majority of them Tacoma’s and I’ve had very good success with them.

Had a 2.4L CRV with a CVT about 4 years ago - good vehicle.
I like the RAV4 better and I would never buy that 1.5L in a CRV.

I live part time in Thailand and have a 2018 Honda Jazz 1.5L (Honda Fit in USA) and love that little car for those tight streets.
 

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I'm waiting on a RAV4 Limited, so I'm going to be part of the club, but I've owned a 2013 Veloster Turbo, 2015 Sonata and my father is still driving his 2013 Sonata Hybrid (over 110,000kms) with nothing more than scheduled servicing (no break downs or surprises). The only reason any of the big companies started getting feature competitive and offering 8" LCDs is because Hyundai improved their materials and quality of steel (Hyundai makes their own high strength steel, they would have more high quality steel in their cars than the rest), and made heated seats and LG's excellent HID system standard, not because they've been selling cheap vehicles for decades. You can believe what you want about reliability but JD Power didn't rank the RAV4 or any Toyota vehicles #1 in 2019 (2019 quality Compact SUV Awards | J.D. Power). The JD Quality Award is a measure of initial quality, and its determined based on how many reported repairs within that model year were necessary. Hyundai for a number of years, when they were sneaking up on everyone, has the highest initial quality ratings. That's a measure of how well those vehicles were built. No initial repairs, well built. What more are you going to judge a new model vehicle on but initial quality. Everyone will have a good/bad story.

I don't care to defend any car maker. I just don't like to seeing hand waving or personal stories presented as a sweeping argument.
And I am not a big fan of people that "poo poo" user experience if it doesnt meet mainline journalist media. Please look up the issues with the ThetaII motor thats in the Kia Optima, Sonata, Sante Fe. Look at Action 132 for Hyundai or even service campaign 953. Hundreds of thousands of motors are "on the sketch". So yeah, they have "great" high strength steel (Ill take your word for it; I was not in an accident to indicate otherwise) but basic engine design is beyond them.

Interiors do not last. Suspension parts also don't last. And for that great engineering? Who was the moron that put the caliper bracket bolt BEHIND the lower shock mount so that you had to pull apart a bunch of the suspension to do brake work?

To put your eggs in a magazine listing versus reading and educating ones self on real world results; to each their own.
 

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Washington is a tax and spend blue state so no surprises there.
And a great place to live, with great schools and well maintained roads and streets. I guess you can choose to live in Kansas, with schools falling apart and roads buckling, but your taxes are low! Whoopee!
 
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